KATHMANDU, Nepal -- U.S. Marines with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 469 and Marine Medium Tilt Rotor Squadron 262, flew relief supplies in UH-1Y Hueys and MV-22 Ospreys to Charikot, Nepal, from the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, May 7.
“Today our mission was to deliver tarps and tent supplies to Charikot, so the Nepalese people can cover their homes, which are now subject to the coming monsoon season,” said Capt. Terence R. Desmond, a Huey pilot with HMLA-469.
The supplies will provide survivors with shelter after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Nepal, April 25, which caused fatalities, injuries and significant damage that left Nepalese survivors without shelter.
Official sources reported more than 7,600 deaths and 16,000 sustained injuries after the Nepal earthquake. These numbers are increasing each passing day. Survivors are suffering the loss of family and friends, and the wreckage of their homes.
“A lot of the homes were destroyed,” said Desmond, from Fort Thomas, Kentucky. “About half of them had some variation of damage, and quite a few of them were completely destroyed.”
Getting shelter supplies out to the Nepalese populous to protect them from the elements is a critical mission. The coming monsoon season threatens the recently exposed homes and can lead to sickness and other life-threatening issues.
“They do have food to eat, but they do not have shelters to stay,” said Capt. Bishwas Adikari, a Nepalese army special forces team commander. “The U.S. Marines are helping in a great way, beyond our expectations.”
Nepalese government has requested assistance from U.S. Agency for International Development. In response, the U.S. military sent Marines, Airmen, Soldiers and Sailors as part of Joint Task Force 505 at the direction of USAID.
HMLA-469 and VMM-262 worked hand-in-hand to complete the mission.
“HMLA-469 is our sister squadron on the flight line, and we are more than willing to work with them,” said Maj. Jason Laird, an Osprey pilot with VMM-262. “We have our maintainers and personnel helping HMLA-469 load up their Hueys to reduce the load time and get these supplies out to the Nepalese people as quickly as possible.”
From May 5 to May 8, they worked together to deliver more than 150 tarps and tents. They were also able to assist JTF and deliver 3,000 pounds of food to the Nepalese people.
“You can see the Nepalese people have suffered a lot,” said Desmond. “They’re very happy to receive the additional supplies, and you can tell that they are very grateful. It’s definitely a good feeling to see that we are taking a terrible situation and making it better.”
The Nepalese army displayed their gratitude for the help they received.
“Thank you very much for serving our country,” said Adikari, from Kathmandu, Nepal. “On behalf of my Nepalese army and personally, we are very, very thankful for the special American teams to help us over here.”
Joint Task Force 505 will continue to support Nepal as long as the Nepalese government requests it.
“It feels great to help,” said Laird, from Corpus Christi, Texas. “It’s what we want to do.”